Each time we drove to Virginia Beach I noticed small blue signs along the road side. The signs had a picture of a sea bird and the words Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on them. I always wondered what exactly this bridge tunnel was. After a day out in Virginia Beach I decided to use the internet to find out exactly what these blue signs were pointing too.
I was surprised and amazed to find out that The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was a series of bridges and tunnels stretching 17.2 miles across the busy entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was opened in 1964, it replaced the ferry service which ran from Virginia Beach to the Eastern shore. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel quickly became a vital piece of road and a tourist attraction. To ease the flow of traffic a second set of bridges was built along side the original in 1999.
When you start driving on to the bridge it feels like you are driving out in to the ocean, after 3.5 miles the bridge disappears under the sea and into the first of the tunnels. It is on the first bridge that you will find the restaurant, gift shop, view points and fishing pier.
From the view points you can see for miles, while we were there we watched huge Navy Ships sail down towards the Chesapeake Bay, there were also smaller Army boats that were practicing their maneuvers.
When ever we go to a new place we always have to look in the gift shop, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel has small a gift shop that is stuffed full great souvenirs, we spent over 40 minutes looking around trying to decide what to buy.
In the same building as the gift shop is the restaurant, the restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including fresh sea food, you can choose to have your food in the sit down restaurant or use the fast food style walk through area.
Once you have filled up on the food that the restaurant has to offer, it may be a good time to take a leisurely stroll down the 625 ft wheelchair accessible fishing pier.The Fishing Pier
There was a happy atmosphere on the pier all the fishermen were lazily sunning them selves while they waited for a bite. While we walked down a couple of people started reeling in their lines, as soon as this happened the whole pier stopped and looked and waited to see the size of the fish that had been caught.
After spending time at the view point we got back in the car and drove across the rest of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, there were two tunnels and lots of low level bridges before we reached the other side.
Once on dry land we stopped at the last scenic rest stop, looking back over the bridges I was surprised to see just how far we had traveled, I could no longer see Virginia Beach. We sat and watched all the different sea birds for a while and then decided as the sun was getting low it was time to head back home.
It is easy to see how The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was named one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World shortly after it was constructed. This was quite a different and interesting way to spend our afternoon.